Taxi Drivers in Dalmatia Wage War against Uber

Total Croatia News

The war against competition continues.

On the streets of Dalmatia, war is being waged in which nothing is off limits; taxi drivers pretend to be Uber customers, send a request to a driver to pick them up, and then beat him and threaten to slit his throat, reports Slobodna Dalmacija on June 29, 2017.

“One hit him from behind, and when he turned, he received a second punch to his head. They set up a trap for him. They pretended to be customers and called him to the bus station, where the taxi stand is. When he got out of the car, they hit him. They also threatened that they would cut my throat, but I managed to run away. I did not report it to the police because I do not want to deal with such people,” says one of the Uber drivers in Zadar, after finding himself a target of the competition which is doing everything it can to take over the taxi market in Zadar.

In order to force them from the streets, taxi drivers, according to Uber, pretend to be customers or follow Uber cars, and then physically attack or threaten the drivers. Although the taxi market has long been in chaos, with people driving without licenses and working for twelve hours a day, the situation has been further aggravated since the arrival of drivers using mobile apps. They joined the local market which includes 115 taxi drivers.

“Last night, they beat up another driver. As usual, they asked for a ride and then attacked him,” said one Uber driver, adding that there are more and more drivers who decide to quit their jobs. “It is not worth it to be in such a danger for not much money. These are serious threats,” says the driver who is still wondering whether to abandon his job or not. The police do not know anything about it because drivers are afraid to report incidents in fear of their own lives.

Trade Union Commissioner for Taxi Service in Zadar County Predrag Šimunov says he has no knowledge about attacks on Uber but believes that incidents are just a result of the general chaos that had been somewhat controlled until the start of the tourist season.

“It is all the result of the failure of the Labour Inspectorate and the Tax Administration. If they did their jobs properly, there would be no illegal taxi drivers on the roads. We pay 8,000 kunas for licenses, and Uber drives illegally, as confirmed by Transport Minister Butković. Despite this, they are seeking thousand more drivers,” says Šimunov, adding that at present only eight taxi drivers in Zadar work legally, while large taxis company are illegally employing a number of unreported drivers, transforming them into slave labour. Many work 12 and more hours a day, without benefits.

“The order in the market should finally be imposed,” says Šimunov.


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